Monday, June 14, 2004

For the medics of the 31st Combat Support Hospital there is added torment. This hospital not only treats American soldiers. It treats Iraqis, too. Many are innocent civilians. Others, however, are enemy prisoners of war — lying in beds next to the Americans they were trying to kill. It is an ethical conundrum of immense proportions.

"Even if they try to hurt us, we still have to take care of them," explains Delgado. "That's what we do. Even though we're trying to help them and they're laying there on the bed, they yell at you and they look at you like with a mean face, like, 'What are you doing.' I had one the other day trying to hit us when he was all hurt and we were trying to help him. That's just hard."
Isn't that, in some ways, a metaphor for the larger issues in Iraq? Saddam was the cancer, which has now been eliminated, but the establishment of democracy is akin to the painful physical therapy required to restore the patient to full health. Yet, though it results in less than full functioning, some would reject the therapy citing it being "easier just to go on as before."

Easier, yes. Better, no.

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